With the International Workers’ Day just around the corner, computer users are concentrated mostly on celebrating, most of the times without exercising enough caution when choosing the site they visit.
The bad news is that cybercriminals hardly take any days off and they really favor this kind of occasions to harm computer users. To add insult to injury, these crooks use more or less the same technique with constant good results, as computer users seem to fall for the same scams over and over again.
Classic Phishing Scams
Phising scams are one of the favorites. A fake page is superposed to a normal shopping site page. Once a person enters their credit card and account details, the crooks can then steal all the money from the account. To avoid phishing scams if purchasing online:
Solution 1: type in the complete site address you wish to visit and avoid clicking on just any link you come across via e-mail or social networking communities.
Solution 2: Run a 60-second QuickScan to see if your computer is safe enough for e-banking sessions.
Fake Web Shops
Another type of threat in the online purchasing business is represented by fake web shops. Unlike phishing pages, these sites are not copycats of genuine online shops, but distinct websites which advertise products, cash money but never deliver a thing.
Solution: chose web shops that are known to you, or better still, you’ve already bought things from, and look from recommendations from people you know and trust.
Greeting Cards Scams
Thirdly, greeting cards are also a liability around holidays, if safety measures are not taken extremely seriously. People get in their inbox various spam e-mails, i.e. links towards fake cards that actually prove to be executable files rigged with malware. To avoid greeting cards scams:
Solution : If you are prompted to download or install anything (such as a plugin), then you should leave the page at once. Hover over the link for domain confirmation ; of course, if you don’t know the sender of the message, it probably is not worth opening. Remember that greeting cards are available straight from the browser.
New Threats for Smartphones
Furthermore, since smartphones have gained a boost of popularity, cyber crooks began redirecting phishing attacks towards these little and easy to use gadgets. The small display of the smartphones often prevents users from seeing the entire URL of the requested webpage and thus increasing the risk of web forgery.
Solution : don’t open URLs embedded in mail messages or IM conversations.
Conclusion: better safe than sorry
In order to stay safe, you are advised to install a security solution with antispam, antiphishing, anti-fraud (against fake web shops) and antivirus (against card fraud), such as Bitdefender Internet Security 2011. Also included in the security suite is the BitDefender Search Advisor, a technology that pre-scans the search results provided by major search engines and marks them as safe, dangerous or potentially harmful before you even get the chance to click on the particular link. If you are not a BitDefender customer but you are a frequently shopping online, we recommend that you try BitDefender TrafficLight, a completely free browser security application that shields you against web-based e-threats such as phishing and fraud websites, malicious scripts and poisoned search results.
Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (www.fb.com/RobertAlai).